United Kingdom

Directors of Grenfell Tower supplier cash in shares worth £123 million

Bosses at the firm whose flammable insulation was fitted on Grenfell Tower have cashed in company shares worth £123million since the inferno, the Daily Mail can reveal.

Directors at Kingspan sold three million shares before the business was last month accused of selling hazardous building products at the inquiry into the disaster.

Last night survivors and bereaved relatives labelled the profits ‘disgraceful and disgusting’. Chairman and founder Eugene Murtagh made an astonishing £76million, while his son Gene, the chief executive, raked in almost £22million.

Gene Murtagh, pictured with his wife Orla, is the Chief Executive of Kingspan, who sold the cladding which was used in Grenfell Tower, cashed in shares worth £22 million in the company. His father Eugene, who founded the firm, sold shares worth £76 million 

Mr Murtagh purchased a sea front property in Dublin for an estimated £6.8 million 

The sale helped the Murtagh family become the fifth richest family in Ireland, with a combined wealth of almost £2billion – up by £700million in one year – according to the Sunday Times Rich List. Kingspan is worth £11.18billion.

In 2018 Gene Murtagh bought a luxury seafront property on one of Dublin’s finest coastal stretches for £6.8million.

Four other executives have made a combined £25million through the sale of shares. The Mail last week reported that Gene Murtagh and executive directors Gilbert McCarthy and Peter Wilson cashed in £6million worth of shares in the weeks before allegations against Kingspan were aired at the inquiry.

Nabil Choucair, who lost six members of his family in the blaze which claimed 72 lives, said: ‘The profits they are making are disgraceful and disgusting. It’s all about profits.’

Karim Mussilhy, vice chairman of survivors and bereaved families group Grenfell United said: ‘It’s completely outrageous that Gene Murtagh and his family have continued to profit. Do they have no shame?’

The public inquiry is examining the manufacture, marketing and testing of the materials used in the 2014-2016 refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.

Lawyers for the bereaved and survivors said documents obtained from the firms which supplied materials for the refurbishment – including Kingspan – sold flammable products they knew ‘were dangerous to life’. Mr Mussilhy, whose uncle Hesham Rahman died in the fire, said: ‘These directors are still profiting from these dangerous products that should never have been out there in the market in the first place.’

Last week the inquiry heard how one of Kingspan’s insulation products, Kooltherm K15, was fitted on Grenfell despite not being suitable for high-rise buildings.

Last week the inquiry heard how one of Kingspan’s insulation products, Kooltherm K15, was fitted on Grenfell despite not being suitable for high-rise buildings

It also heard that senior manager Philip Heath said in an email that customers concerned about the product’s safety could ‘go **** themselves’. He has since apologised.

Ivor Meredith, who was responsible for safety tests on the insulation, admitted his ‘serious drug habit’ impeded his ability to do his job and told how he became ‘embroiled in a deliberate and calculated deceit by Kingspan’ to ‘fabricate’ test results.

Kingspan, whose materials are on most flats and houses, was accused by lawyers of ‘unrepentant arrogance’.

In October Kingspan withdrew fire test reports for Kooltherm K15 which had been used to help sell the product since 2006. By then, it had been fitted to 240 tall buildings.

Mr Meredith told the inquiry he complained two years before the Grenfell fire that the product’s fire performance claims were ‘stretching the truth’.

He described how a 2007 test became a ‘raging inferno’ with the foam insulation ‘burning under its own steam’.

Mr Meredith said he recommended adding fire retardant, but his managers criticised him for ‘not being very positive about Kingspan products’.

Kingspan has admitted ‘process shortcomings during the period of 2005 to 2014 for which it sincerely apologises’ and said it ‘condemns unreservedly any actions that do not demonstrate a proper commitment to fire safety’.

It said the version of the product it tested was not the same as those it was selling.

Last night Mr Choucair said: ‘People need to face criminal charges for what has happened and this should happen soon. The inquiry should be put on hold to allow for prosecutions to take place.’

Kingspan declined to comment on the share sales but is believed to have instigated an internal investigation into some current and former staff arising from the inquiry. 

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